Hello everyone! It’s been a while since we talked to you about the progress with Spacefinder, but with Version 2 having just been released there is no better time than the present…

The service has been extremely popular and is still experiencing high volumes of traffic. Just in time for exams (and the admittedly unfortunate, but also inevitably unavoidable need for revision) Spacefinder Version 2 is now live. So if you need to avoid distractions, or fancy finding your new ‘home’ for the next few weeks, you know where to look! The new release of Spacefinder is jammed full of new ways to find study spaces, and many other changes have been made to the software after a series of usability tests with students.

Header1 person with Macs

To refresh your memories: The initial launch of Spacefinder was completed with an MVP, not a Most Valuable Player, we’re obviously far too democratic for that(!), but a Minimum Viable Product, i.e. a product that has enough features gathered from research to ensure its deployment and use, ahead of continued development and updates. A key advantage of this approach is the ability to test a product hypothesis with minimal resources, whilst also making the product itself available to users as soon as possible. This does mean however that the initial product was only likely to satisfy a certain percentage of user needs, hence the need for a new prototype iteration.

Throughout the first release members of the project team have been adding new spaces (we’re now at 191, whoop whoop!), editing existing spaces to add more information, and generally working very hard to make sure the service runs as smoothly as possible. At the same time we’ve been listening to our users and observing their use of Spacefinder, which has fed in to a redesign of the software prior to its second release.

editathon

The project team during a Spacefinder ‘Editathon’ (Photo – Andy Priestner)

Larger images have been included, as it was found that users didn’t use the written descriptions of the spaces on offer and instead mostly used pictures of the spaces (well, they are pretty). There is now the option to load more spaces with searched criteria after the initial list of results, and the button for this has been placed in a prominent location on screen. Colour coded pins distinguishing between library and non-library (e.g. cafes and bars) spaces have also been added to the map display screens.

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The bulk of the updates however were related to how users actually search for spaces. Due to popular demand the shiny new Spacefinder now includes:

  • Lots more facilities, and the ability to search for spaces using these as filters. Added facilities include the presence of bike racks (absolutely essential in Cambridge!), individual study spaces, adjustable furniture, baby changing facilities and gender neutral toilets.
  • Added disability information: Whether spaces are wheelchair accessible, have parking for blue badge holders, have toilets accessible to disabled people or hearing induction loops. These important categories have now all been added as filters with which users can search.

A promotional campaign for the new software is getting off the ground as I write. You will no doubt bump into many of our beautiful new posters around the city (thanks to Amy Theobald for these), you will be able to keep up to date with progress via Twitter using the hashtag #spacefinder, and the project team will soon be coming to a Location Near You to both promote and demo the revamped service. The Futurelib programme is also now on Facebook (linked below) so go there and like us – thanks!

https://www.facebook.com/futurelibprogramme/

David

[Header image Boxing Cake by Eldriva]

[Renewal kagurazaka information center image by MENI from ASO! & Soothe]

 

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